I’ll admit, I was hesitant to get into Atonement. It looked like a very British film, like a modern day A Room With a View, and I didn’t want to have to sit through another one of those. Nevertheless, it was on the list, so I had to give it a shot. And you know what? I’m glad I did. I would have otherwise missed out on a pretty good film and one that was not what I expected it to be at all.
The first thing I started to notice is just how much is crammed into each second of this film. For everything that the film handles, it handles it all with aplomb; everything is interconnected, and there are so many elements all interwoven in the film that you can’t help but be impressed at how well it is put together when you really look at it. The cinematography is very beautiful, especially in certain individual moments, and the power behind some of the imagery is quite potent. The Oscar-winning score is also quite excellent; I don’t think I’ve ever heard a typewriter integrated into a film score before, but it is really notable, to the point where it breaks suspension of disbelief at times.
I was surprised by this film. I wasn’t expecting to feel as much as I ended up feeling from it; it’s almost that I wanted the film to be a slightly stuffy British-sensible film, almost like a modern day Merchant Ivory production, but it wasn’t. Well, in certain ways it was, but the film uses those roots and updates the mood to make for a very entertaining tale for a modern day audience. It doesn’t get lost in itself; rather, it knows what it is and what it wants to be, and is happy with what it is regardless of the opinions of its viewers. I can respect that about this film, and I can respect the film itself. This is well done cinema, with a few shining moments that seem to overshadow the rest of the film, but regardless, this is a pleaser if I ever saw one.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10